You likely already have antivirus software on your computer. But what about your phone? If you use your phone regularly to browse online, manage finances, or just for messaging, you need to ensure your data is secure. Here are some free tools you can use to protect your Android.
You might have already heard that it’s important to use different passwords for different websites. That way, if a website is breached and someone gets a hold of your password for one website, they won’t be able to get into all of your accounts. It’s a pain, but having a single password for everything means that one compromised password puts your accounts at risk.
A manager will generate passwords, store them, and can even automatically change passwords for you. It uses two-factor authentication and local encryption, meaning data is encrypted and decrypted on your device. LastPass is available as a browser extension.
One of the most effective ways to protect yourself online is to use a VPN (virtual private network) service. VPNs work by encrypting all the data that is sent to and from your phone. They also cloak your real IP address, as you are being routed through the IP address of the VPN server you’re using.
There are a wealth of free VPNs out there now. Browse this list of the top free VPNs for Android to help you choose. If you take security seriously, vpnMentor also ranks the best VPNs overall, including ones you pay for.
End-to-end encryption is fast becoming the standard across messaging platforms. Even WhatsApp and LINE have caught on. But encryption for messengers isn’t enough anymore– WhatsApp, for example, is owned by Facebook, which collects and sells user data.
For real security, you want a messenger like Signal, which is open-source and doesn’t store logs or metadata. They use peer-reviewed cryptographic protocols, and being open-source means anyone can check the code and ensure its security.
Most browsers send information about your browsing history to their parent company. Browsing history can be bundled and sold. If you’re using Google Chrome, for example, Google knows a lot about you by now.
Tor browser, run by the non-profit Tor Project, isolates each website you visit so third-party advertisers can’t track you. It triple-encrypts your data, and also deletes cookies and your browsing history after you finish a session.
Tor won’t replace a VPN, but it does anonymize your browsing.
Browser Extension for Encryption
If you aren’t interested in switching browsers, there’s still an easy tool you can use to strengthen security on your Android.
To ensure that you’re always accessing secure webpages that use encryption mechanisms, try a browser extension like HTTPS Everywhere. This automatically switches websites using “http” to the secure “HTTPS.” It was developed by Tor Project and Electronic Frontier Foundation.